I messed up… again.
I didn’t even want to get back up.
I didn’t feel like I could.
But then I remembered a poem I had tucked in a book almost thirty years ago. I pulled it out. Read it. And got back up…again.
By D. H. Groberg
A children’s race–young boys, young men–
How I remember well.
Excitement, sure! but also fear;
It wasn’t hard to tell.
They all lined up so full of hope;
Each thought to win the race.
Or tie for first, or if not that,
At least take second place.
And Fathers watched from off the side
Each cherring for his son.
O and each boy hoped to show his dad
That he would be the one.
The whistle blew and off they ran
Young hearts and hopes afire.
To win and be the hero there
Was each young boy’s desire.
And one boy in particular,
Whose dad was in the crowd,
Was running near the lead and thought:
“My dad will be so proud!”
But as they speeded down the field
Across a shallow dip,
The little boy who thought to win
Lost his step and slipped.
Trying hard to catch himself,
His hands flew out to brace,
And mid the laughter of the crowd
He fell flat on his face.
So down he fell and with him hope
–He couldn’t win it now–
Embarrassed, sad, he only wished
To disappear somehow.
But as he fell his dad stood up
And showed his anxious face,
Which to the boy so clearly said:
“Get up and win the race.”
He quickly rose, no damage done.
–Behind a bit, that’s all–
And he ran with all his mind and might
To make up for his fall.
So anxious to restore himself
–To catch up and to win–
His mind went faster than his legs:
He slipped and fell again!
He wished then he had quit before
With only one disgrace.
“I’m hopeless as a runner now;
I shouldn’t try to race.”
But in the laughing crowd he searched
And found his father’s face;
That steady look which said again:
“Get up and win the race!”
So up he jumped to try again
–Ten yards behind the last.
“If I’m to gain those yards,” he thought
“I’ve got to move real fast.”
Exerting everything he had
He regained eight or ten,
But trying so hard to catch the lead
He slipped and fell again!
Defeat! He lay there silently
–A tear dropped from his eye–
“There’s no sense running any more;
Three strikes. I’m out! Why try?”
The will to rise had disappeared;
All hope had fled away;
So far behind, so error prone;
A loser all the way.
“I’ve lost, so what’s the use?” he thought.
“I’ll live with my disgrace.”
But then he thought about his dad,
Who soon he’d have to face.
“Get up,” an echo sounded low.
“Get up and take your place;
You were not meant to failure here.
Get up and win the race.”
“With borrowed will get up,” it said.
“You haven’t lost at all.
For winning is no more than this:
To rise each time you fall.”
So up he rose to run once more,
And with a new commit
He resolved that win or lose,
At least he wouldn’t quit.
So far behind the others now,
–The most he’d ever been–
Still he gave it all he had
And ran as though to win.
Three times he’d fallen, stumbling;
Three times he rose again;
Too far behind to hope to win,
He still ran to the end.
They cheered the winning runner
As he crossed the line first place.
Head high, and proud, and happy;
No falling, no disgrace.
But when the fallen youngster
Crossed the line last place,
The crowd gave him the greater cheer
For finishing the race.
And even though he came in last
With head bowed low, unproud,
You would have thought he’d won the race
To listen to the crowd.
And to his dad he sadly said,
“I didn’t do so well.”
“To me, you won,” his father said.
“You rose each time you fell.”
Today, no matter what you’re going through, no matter how badly you have messed up, I want you to know that Your Heavenly Father is standing in the crowd, willing you to rise.
Now, if this one was for you, leave me a comment that says, “I will not quit in disgrace. I will get up and continue the race!”
If you need a little help getting back on your feet or in the race, my bookstore might have just what you need. Click over and download free chapters, and watch encouraging videos.